In The Legend of Zelda series, the main character, Link has a set of hearts, symbolizing his health. This is a recurring theme in all the Zelda games, excluding The Adventure of Link where his health is symbolized by a life bar. Depending on the game Link must find either Pieces of Heart or a full Heart Container to increase his maximum health. Heart Containers in most games are gained by defeating a major boss.
In the majority of the games Link can collect Pieces of Heart to create a full Heart Container. This concept was first introduced in A Link to the Past, and has since been a recurring theme in the following games, except for Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, which only have full Heart Containers. Pieces of Heart are scattered throughout the world, and can be won in a mini game, found in treasure chests, or given as a thanks for helping someone. Traditionally one only had to collect four Pieces of Heart to make a full Heart Container, but in Twilight Prin cess you must find five pieces of heart, and so far is the only game that requires five. Although heart pieces are collected in fifths, Link still loses health in minimums of fourths.
The amount of heart pieces in a game depends primarily on how many Heart Containers there are, and the number of Heart Containers are usually determined by how many dungeons or bosses there are in the game. Majora’s Mask holds the record for the most Pieces of Heart, fifty-two. The majority of the games finish with link gaining a total of twenty hearts.
The only games to have in-game guides that help players find Pieces of Heart, are The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword. This is a recent theme in the Zelda series and has been a very beneficial add-on.